Mother Teresa cured my ovarian cancer, says believer of 'miracle'
SITTING in her mud house in eastern India, Monica Besra vividly recalls the "blinding light" emanating from Mother Teresa's photo that she believes helped cure her cancer - one of the two recognised miracles that propelled the nun towards sainthood.
The tribal woman from West Bengal became an overnight sensation in 1998 when she claimed that a picture and a medallion of the world's most famous Roman Catholic nun had cured her ovarian tumour.
"Two sisters carried me to the church since I was too weak to stand or walk by myself," the 50-year-old said.
Her village is 400km from Kolkata where Mother Teresa - canonised yesterday - devoted her life to helping the sick, poor and dying.
"As soon as I entered (the church), a blinding, divine light emitted from Mother's photo and enveloped me.
"I closed my eyes, I couldn't understand what was happening.
"It was indescribable, I felt faint," the mother of five said.
In 1998 - a year after Mother Teresa's death - nuns placed an aluminium medallion that had been blessed by the future Saint Teresa on Ms Besra's stomach and prayed for her.
She recalled how she awoke to go to the bathroom a few hours later, a walk usually too painful to carry out alone.
"I looked down to see the giant lump had disappeared," said Ms Besra who still wears the medallion around her neck.
The next day she was proclaimed cured, a feat hailed by the Vatican as a miracle leading to Mother Teresa's beatification - a crucial step on the path to sainthood - in 2003.
The Pope last year recognised a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa - the 2008 recovery of a Brazilian man suffering from brain tumours.
But doctors have said there was no evidence of a miracle.
"Besra was rid of her tumour with the help of very strong medicines and treatment for several days at Balurghat Hospital," former West Bengal health minister Partho De told Agence France-Presse in 2002.
Ms Besramaintains that Mother Teresa "performs miracles only for those who believe and I have always believed".